The two main styles of vehicle lifts on the market today are two- and four-post lifts. Which one do you need?
“There is no perfect lift,” says Bruce Buckborough, co-owner of Babco (wwww.babco.ca), a Canadian vehicle lift distributor. “There’s not one lift that will work better than another.” Picking one style over the other means assessing your needs and considering what you want to do to vehicles you’ll be lifting.
“The advantage of a two-post is price,” says Buckborough. “The space it takes up and access to the undercarriage of a vehicle (is better).” But he adds that some people don’t feel comfortable trying to properly position the lift arms used on a two-post hoist, which needs to balance a vehicle.
The four-post design is easier to operate. “A four post is easy to drive onto,” he adds. Anyone can do it. But once you lift it (a vehicle) up on a four-post, how do you get the wheels and tires off? So you need a rolling jack, there’s another $1,325. Some brands can be over three grand.” That adds additional cost to the lift style that is already the most expensive.
How much lift capacity do you need in a farm shop? “A 14,000 pound lift will get a one-ton dually on it,” he explains. A four-post lift with that rating will run in the range of $4,600 to $6,000. In contrast, a two-post version will start at about $3,200.
Buckborough adds his company has sold several heavy, four-post lits to farmers with 27,000 pound lift strength. Hoists with this rating are capable of lifting a grain truck. Expect to pay $14,000 to $25,000 for something this size.
At the small end of the capacity scale are the hobbyist lifts offered by several companies. But Buckborough advises against buying one for a farm shop, they just won’t have enough lift capacity for most farm vehicles. †